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Erik Trautman

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
-- Pablo Picasso

Trip Superlatives

…Because I’ve been asked:

Favorite states to ride: I couldn’t narrow it down to just one, so the top four (in no particular order) are West Virginia, California, Texas, and Utah.

States you should probably skip on your motorcycle: Nebraska, Kansas, Connecticut, New Jersey, Michigan, Indiana

Most dangerous place for motorcycles: New York City (seriously, it’s a stupid, stupid, legitimately dangerous place to ride)

Most speed traps / cops: Arkansas, Georgia

Windiest state: tie, South Dakota and Nebraska

Worst drivers: California (putting on makeup and driving do not mix with 6 lane roads)

Friendliest People: South Carolina

Best road quality: Montana (surprising for a winter state)

Worst road quality: New Orleans (I’m surprised residents don’t smile like jack-o-lanterns by now from the chattering)

Best Hiking: The Tetons… perhaps not the largest expanse of land for hiking but the most enjoyable climb of the trip because it was beautiful, quiet, and varied but still quite accessible. If you’ve got a week, Glacier National Park.

Best Vistas: Canyonlands national park and the ride up rt 12 from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef

Worst Moment: Nebraska’s endless wind and dust. My asthma acts up just thinking about it.

Funniest Moment (for others…): Tipping over in traffic on I-95 when my gator strap caught on the foot peg.

Scariest moment: Nearly blowing off the road in northern Montana in that freak wind storm

Outstanding items on the bucket list: Gator farm and airboat rides, smoky mountain national park

“If I had to go to only one national park before I die, which should I choose?” Yellowstone. But for goodness sake, avoid tourists like the plague because the word is out and it’s crawling with them. Go during winter or shoulder seasons and very early in the morning. Runners up: Zion, Yosemite

“This is really a national park??” Hot Springs National Park… someone paid someone else off for that one.

Best Moment: The second half of the ride on rt12 from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef: Canyons, rocks, cliffs, mountains, forests, meadows, cows, horses, farms, and red red rocks… at sunset on a warm day. My heart hurts.

The hidden gem of the US: The Black Hills in South Dakota

Worst Highway: I-95… but I-5 is a close second. Sorry, southerners, I-10 ain’t great but just isn’t in the same league.

Best road smells: Wood smoke, BBQ smoke, hay, fresh cut grass, hot road just rained on, pine trees, cows (in moderation), cigars, coal smoke, pond, fog

Worst road smells: Too many cows, skunk, and especially CHICKEN COOPS

Worst tolls: Ohio/Indiana/Illinois

Worst gas prices: Death Valley

Best gas prices: The gulf coast. All of it.

Worst hotel: Rodeway Inn, Tallahassee FL

Favorite meal: Pappy’s Smokehouse, St Louis

Favorite Brewery: Fiddlehead Brewing Company, Sherburne VT

MVP accessory: 6-hook cargo net

“If I could only do it again, but with better weather…”: New England in the Fall

Most frighteningly crawling with potential roadkill: West Virginia and upstate New York.

Most physically painful: Random foot injury in San Francisco after hiking 12 miles with a pack on and then running for a mile in hiking boots.

Most mentally difficult: Any nighttime ride in deer country. And Nebraska.

Worst traffic: Minneapolis, New York CIty

“I’m sure THIS is the last stoplight before the road opens up…”: Minnesota, coastal Virginia

Nicest beach: Pensacola, FL and Navarre, FL

“I’m going to live there someday.”: Gardiner, MT (near the northwest entrance to Yellowstone), Lake Tahoe, CA, Grangeville, ID

Sudden case of the Stupids: Skipping gas stations in search of lower prices and running out of gas in the middle of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.